BMW M8 review
The BMW M8 is supercar quick, easy to drive for long periods and looks great. However, some features cost extra that shouldn’t, and the cheaper M850i is very nearly as good.
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If a BMW M4 is a small, nimble Velociraptor, then the all-new BMW M8 is more like a T-Rex. It looks pretty similar from a distance, but up close it’s larger, visibly heftier and much more intimidating. It’s also significantly more powerful and – just like a Mercedes S63 Coupe – has a ravenous appetite. For petrol, that is.
The standard 8 Series is already one of the most intimidating cars on the road – short of a monstrous SUV – but the M8 gives it some even more aggressive visual upgrades. At the front, you get an even hungrier-looking mouth with some carbon-fibre fangs below the headlights, a menacing black grille and a speed-bump-scraping splitter.
Unique M-alloy wheels stand guard at each corner and at the rear you’ll find a carbon-fibre spoiler, a new rear diffuser and a set of four real exhaust pipes. No horrible plastic fakery going on here.
Step inside, and things feel genuinely special, too. There’s a new gear lever – instead of that divisive crystal knob in the standard 8 Series – a red starter button, loads of M-coloured stitching and some uber-supportive sports seats.
There’s also plenty of carbon fibre dotted about the place and some special M8-specific dials on the digital driver’s display that gives you all sorts of info about the car’s new driving modes.
The rest of the infotainment system doesn’t get any significant upgrades over the standard 8 Series’ unit, but it’s still dead easy to use and comes with a voice-activated personal assistant that’s so helpful Jeeves might want to start updating his CV. It’s a shame you still can’t get Android Auto, though.
If you’re looking for the absolute peak of BMW M engineering, then look no further than the new M8 Competition. Just be prepared to hand over some serious cash to park one on your drive…
The back seats are also disappointedly cramped, but that’s no different to the standard 8 Series. If you fancy bringing a few friends along for the ride, there’s always the BMW M8 Gran Coupe with four doors, roomier back seats and a bigger boot to consider.
Whichever of these cars you pick, you get the same 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine under the bonnet. This unit is related to the one in the M850i, but it’s been comprehensively re-worked by BMW’s nerdiest engineers so it produces a 600hp in standard trim and a whopping 625hp in range-topping M8 Competition guise.
Want to see how the M8 Competition stacks up against a BMW M5 Competition in a drag race? Tap on the image below to watch our video.
As in many new high-performance BMWs, power is sent to all four wheels through an automatic gearbox and a clever four-wheel-drive system that can alter how much power is sent to each wheel.
How it does this depends on which of the M8’s many driving modes you choose – a spectrum ranging from tyre-destroying rear-wheel-drive setups to an uber-grippy four-wheel-drive mode that’ll blast you from 0-60mph in less than 3.2 seconds.
Even if you ignore the BMW M8’s top-trumps-winning stats, you’ll find it’s a seriously impressive car to drive. The standard adaptive suspension and extra underbody bracing helps make it feel even more agile than an M850i, or even an M5, in tight corners, yet it’ll settle down into an impressively relaxing cruise at motorway speeds.
The standard automatic gearbox is one of the best around, too – it’s smooth, responsive and doesn’t lurch at low speeds. One of the few thorns in the BMW M8’s side is that you have to pay extra for plenty of desirable driver-assistance systems – the sort that you get as standard on a Toyota Corolla…
Trickier than deciding whether you want to pay for these upgrades, however, is deciding if the M8 is worth the extra cash over the standard 8 Series. Sure, if it’s the ultimate M car you want, it’s the car for you, but for anyone looking for a fast two-seater sports car that’ll lap up long journeys with ease might be better off with an M850i.
Sound like your next car? Have a look at the latest BMW M8 deals.